The Hurricanes stormed back for a huge 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers Tuesday night, largely thanks to the play of the top three centers in Jordan Staal, Vincent Trocheck and Sebastian Aho, who combined for three goals and seven points.
Brind’Amour, Staal, Aho and Trocheck spoke to the media after the win, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On the empty-net goals and a physical game: It was physical, but it was also really fast. So it was way different in a lot of ways than the other night. That team there, they’re high-octane. They transition really well. You make any little mistake in the O-zone, they’re going the other way. It was an interesting game that way. We weren’t at our best, but our big guys got going there at the end, and I thought, had some key moments. It wasn’t a dominant game by any means, but in key moments, they came to make the difference.
On Jordan Staal doing everything the right way: That’s why he is who he is. He’s the leader of this team. He was great tonight. He’s going against [Aleksander Barkov], he was great tonight. Those are two of the best centers in the NHL. They play the game the right way. They’re hard to handle. Jordo shrugged a couple guys off there and got us going in the right direction in tonight’s game.
On if he can describe Jordan Staal in three words: No. I cannot. We love him. You know that. You’ve heard me talk about him forever. This year is special because his play hasn’t changed, the goals are going in. His confidence is there. He’s leading our charge. It’s that simple.
On this group winning when it’s not at its best: It wasn’t like we were bad, that’s for sure. I thought Florida was really good. They were on it. And we had moments. Our goalie needs to be talked about. That was the difference in the game, no question. Both goalies made some sick saves, but at the end, [Petr Mrazek], there was a stretch there were the game could have went sideways, and he helped hold us in there. What does it say about our group? These guys know they’re never out of a game. They play hard. That’s what I love about them. At the end of the day, you go up and down our lineup, everybody plays hard.
On Petr Mrazek: I didn’t really know what to expect, but he took a long time, and I think he had a lot of ice preparation before he got his start. He certainly wasn’t rushing to get back. We didn’t push him in there when he was iffy. I think he felt confident in himself. Obviously he looks great and we’d love to keep that going.
On the power play: I don’t know if it looked any different than it has in any other games, but just we got a few looks tonight, versus in other games, it was a one look and then you’re done. We had one called back that would have been a power-play goal. It was the difference. It wasn’t great as far as execution on everything, but we were able to get a couple, and that was the difference in the game.
On describing Jordan Staal in three words: I can do it in two words: Ultimate Leader.
On the message in the locker room during the second intermission: At the time we were down by one and we were going to start off on the power play so the message was to get some momentum. Get some shots. Hopefully we score on the power play and tie the game. We did that and it gave us a lot of confidence and momentum and we took off. Was just a solid period for us.
On if Vincent Trocheck has any extra motivation against Florida: I think he’s been playing good all year, but I’m sure there can be a little extra. He wants to show them that he’s a great player. But overall I feel like he’s been good all year, not just against Florida.
On getting more than just one power play chance: We haven’t had too much power play time lately, and we hadn’t scored in a few games either so we wanted to show everyone that we still got it.
On the secret to being a Panther killer: I don’t think there’s any secret. I think it’s just luck of the draw. I’ve gotten some greasy ones against them this year.
On the message during the second intermission: Just to be positive. Going into the third period, it was a good game. They’re a good team so we couldn’t get down on ourselves for being in the position that we were. We had to go out there in the third and play our game.
On Jordan Staal showing the marks of a good captain tonight: He does that every night. You know what you’re getting out of Jordo. He’s coming to play. He’s bringing his work boots and he leads by example out there. He’s the epitome of a captain.
On describing Jordan Staal in three words: Horse. Leader. Good guy. That’s four, but...
On his empty net goal being a sort of statement: I was just trying to get to the net. It was a good game. Weird game, but they played well. Created a lot of chances. Felt like our first and second were just okay. We created a little bit, but Mrazek played really well. Made some really big saves. The empty net, I was just trying to end the game. That was my thought.
On his message to the team during the second intermission: We had to be better, including myself. Our line wasn’t great in the first two. I thought we were getting outplayed. Just mentally tried to push that away and come out with a strong third period and see what happens. PP came up big. A big goal which kind of got us going. Then we started playing a little better and started doing the things we wanted to do. Moving the puck north-south and playing in their end a little bit more. We were fortunate enough to find a way to get two points.
On the competitiveness of the team: I think it’s every night. It’s what we strive to be. We’ve got a lot of individuals that are very competitive and hate to lose. It may not always be pretty or always perfect, but we’re going to find a way to compete as hard as we can and continue to try to find ways to win games. This group has done a great job of just sticking with it and just continuing to try to get to our game and do the things we want to do. Tonight was no different.
On his goal: I was just trying to shoot it as hard as I could. I wouldn’t say my shot is one of the heavier ones on the team. I always ask Svech to teach me how to shoot. I saw my big bro do it the other night coming down the wing. Had a quick wrister and I tried to do the same thing. I was fortunate enough that it went in the net. I had some other good looks before that and I felt like it was starting to come. Tried not to get frustrated and I had a good bounce there and I’ll take it.